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UFC Fight Night 64 fight card: Gabriel Gonzaga vs Mirko Filipovic 2 fight preview

Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Filipovic will finally rematch this Saturday (April 11, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 64 inside Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland. In a battle of aggressive finishers, what adjustments must be made for either man in order to claim victory? Find out how below!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Filipovic will clash this Saturday (April 11, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 64 inside Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland.

For the first time since his return to UFC, Gonzaga is in a bit of a rough patch. He's lost his last two bouts -- admittedly to a pair of the division's better up-and-comers -- which means a getting the victory here is fairly important for his job security.

On the other hand, this is a new start for Filipovic, as his first two UFC runs were rather disappointing. This time around, no one is expecting him to chase the title or even break the Top 10, but Filipovic has a chance to prove there's still something left in the tank.

Let's take a closer look at the keys to victory for both fighters:

Gabriel Gonzaga
Record: 16-9
Key Wins: Mirko Filipovic (UFC 70), Shawn Jordan (UFC 166), Ben Rothwell (UFC on FX 8)
Key Losses: Travis Browne (TUF 17 Finale), Stipe Miocic (UFC on FOX 10), Matt Mitrione (UFC on FOX 13)
Keys to Victory: Gonzaga is one of the finest grapplers in the heavyweight division and is also an incredibly powerful puncher. Thanks to those skills and some serious aggression, Gonzaga has finished every one of his opponents.

Neither man is particularly durable at this point in their career, but both can still strike with some pop. With that in mind, a straight up exchange of punches is pretty risky for both fighters.

Instead, Gonzaga should look to use his grappling early on. In the first fight, Gonzaga really hurt "Cro Cop" will elbows from top position, which made Filipovic tentative and helped Gonzaga land the eventual high kick finish.

If Gonzaga gets on top early, he may not need to rely on his kickboxing at all. Gonzaga is a highly talented grappler and a physical force on top; there's a really good chance that he can finish the fight after just one takedown.

Even if Filipovic manages to get back to his feet, it will be an exhausting effort. If Gonzaga is the fresher fighter, he should be able to connect with some hard shots before long.

Most of the time, that's all it takes in the heavyweight division.


Mirko Filipovic
Record: 30-11-2
Key Wins: Satoshi Ishii (Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014), Pat Barry (UFC 115), Anthony Perosh (UFC 110)
Key Losses: Alexey Oleinik (Legend Fight Show 2), Roy Nelson (UFC 137), Frank Mir (UFC 119)
Keys to Victory: Filipovic is an excellent kickboxer and has finished an astonishing 22 opponents via knockout. While he's no longer at the top of his game, "Cro Cop" is still capable of bringing the violence.

To defeat Gonzaga, Filipovic needs to make effective use of his kicking game. As mentioned, a straight boxing exchange is very risky, but Filipovic's superior kicks from the outside could really turn the tide in his favor.

In addition, Filipovic should stay patient early on. Gonzaga really drops off after the first round, while "Cro Cop" showed in his last fight that he's dangerous at least into the second round. Once Gonzaga slows down, Filipovic should step in for the kill.

Not only does this game plan keep Filipovic out of range of takedowns until Gonzaga is too tired to score with them, but it should help prevent him from being clipped with a big punch. So long as FIlipovic remains patient and keeps his distance, he should be at an advantage.

Bottom Line: This is a rematch eight years in the making between two heavyweights in the twilight of their career.

At this point, neither man will contend for the title. While a victory doesn't really advance either fighter up the divisional ladder, it does ensure that the winner will have at least another couple fights -- and paydays -- in UFC.

For "Cro Cop," this is also a chance to make up for his last two disappointing runs in UFC. He obviously is going to climb to the top of the division, but Filipovic could put forth a few respectable fights and end his UFC career on a high note.

While a loss would undoubtedly be disappointing, neither fighter is in immediate danger of being cut. Both men have drawing power, which allows them to fill up main cards without any questions being asked. Plus, even the oldest heavyweights are often able to carve out a place in the division, which has a well-earned reputation of always being shallow.

At UFC Fight Night 64, Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Filipovic will collide for the second time. Which fighter will earn the victory?

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